Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Nihal Bitla: India progeria campaigner dies aged 15


  • 4 May 2016
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  • From the sectionIndia
Nihal BitlaImage copyrightHumans of Bombay
Image captionBitla made headlines while trying to locate 60 other Indian progeria sufferers to participate in a clinical trial in Boston
A Mumbai teenager who had been suffering from a rare genetic disease that causes the body to age eight times faster than normal has died.
Fifteen-year-old Nihal Bitla was the face of India's awareness campaign against progeria.
Bitla made headlines while trying to locate 60 other Indian progeria sufferers to participate in a clinical trial in Boston with him.
He ran an active social media campaign to raise awareness about the disease.
Most recently he fronted an awareness campaign called #HatsOnForProgeria, where he appeared with a group of supporters at Mumbai's iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station.
He had also appeared at a #RunForProgeria event in the southern city of Bangalore.
Bitla shot into the limelight after he met Bollywood actor Aamir Khan in December after the Facebook page "Humans of Bombay" highlighted his story and the fact that he was a "super fan" of the star.
He died in hospital on Tuesday in the southern state of Telangana, where he had gone to attend a wedding.
Media reports said he may have become dehydrated in the extreme heat there.
Indian social media is full of tributes to Bitla, with many calling him a "fighter" and an "inspiration".
@TeamNihal you were and will always be an inspiration for me to live life to its fullest despite all odds. RIP Nihal.Image copyright@reticentviewer
Good bye warrior!! May the world without pain welcome you with open arms #restinpeacenihal @Progeria @TeamNihalImage copyright@Abrief_Affair
He may have died, but #NihalBitla's awareness campaign for #Progeria will hopefully gain new impetus. @TeamNihalImage copyright@sowmyarajaram
Saddened young Nihal who had #progeria has passed on.So much more needed done on #rarediseases.RIP Nihal @TeamNihalImage copyright@meltwith

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